Serena N. Baldari

Towards Relational Scripture Studies

A Case Study of Italian and Scandinavian Translations of the mā adka mā Passages in the Qur’an


In this thesis, I explore the relationship between subtle qur’anic imagery and European lingua-cultural imaginaries through a reading of the twelve occurrences of the formula mā adrāka mā in the Qur’an and their rendition in thirteen Italian and twelve Scandinavian translations. By focusing on the more subtle aspects of imagery in the texts, such as sound-meaning connections, intra- and intertextual parallels, grammatical gender charges and conceptual metaphors, I draw attention to the transformative character of translation, considering both its limitations and its potential. The comparative case study method allows me to address the topic from within a specific, but diverse European context and with particular concern for the premises of the lingua-cultural and socio-religious encounter that the translations represent. Approaching the Qur’an as scripture, I propose the term Relational Scripture Studies (RSS) to frame the study of this encounter. In extension, I ask whether the notion of (inter-)scriptural literacy can be useful as a starting point for the development of an ethics of Qur’an translation in Europe that addresses broader and incessantly relevant socio-ethical issues related to religious identity and relationality.

Contact information

Serena Norlemann Baldari.


Senior Lecturer Nora Sunniva Eggen, Faculty of Theology.

Professor Oddbjørn Leirvik, Faculty of Theology.


Doctoral fellow at the Faculty of Theology.

Published Feb. 27, 2019 10:27 AM - Last modified Mar. 21, 2022 10:15 AM